“This is a stupid idea,” Stiles muttered before using his teeth to pull the flap of his lacrosse glove tight.
“The town council didn’t think it was.” Scott bounced, making sure his gear settled on his body correctly.
“The town council, just like everyone else, is tired of the constant tension because of the dead bodies.” Stiles stood up to bounce as well. All around him his teammates were in various stages of donning their gear too. “They’re letting their frustrations overrule their common sense.”
“Listen up, everyone! To make this fair, I’m dividing the wolves into two teams then picking everyone else’s name out of a hat!” Finstock yelled from the front of the packed locker room, brandishing said hat, his cap. “Whittmore and Lahey, you’re on one team. McCall and Boyd, you’re on the other.”
Jackson, just like old times, pointed at Scott and bragged, “Get ready to lose, McCall.”
Scott rolled his eyes. “We’ll see, Jackson, we’ll see.”
Stiles rolled his eyes at them both.
“All right,” Coach Finstock whistled to get their attention after he finished divvying up the players. “It’s been a long time for everyone, I know, but I want a good game from each of you.”
Their coach bent the same maniacal glare he had used on them when they had played regular lacrosse games against other schools. It made him a little nostalgic even though this exhibition game had been Finstock’s idea and Stiles thought it was a terrible idea.
It happened slowly.
One person from Beacon Hills had disappeared one night, the sheriff’s department finding only skeletal remains deep in the woods. A few, a very small few, had looked at the pack, but when Derek did nothing but roll his eyes and walk away, no one dared to say anything. The man’s death was investigated and mourned, but they never found out whom or what did it.
Derek, Deaton, and Dr. Sid Hammerback, the medical examiner, had all carefully studied the body but could not come up with anything conclusive. Derek said the scents around the body were human, but somehow twisted, smelling wrong but not the death-like smell of the zombies. Deaton said the teeth marks on the bones and what little was left of the flesh did not look like any animal – supernatural or not – that he had ever seen before. Dr. Hammerback agreed and added that some of the teeth marks also looked human, but he couldn’t be sure.
They said the same thing about the next person who had gone missing and whose remains were later found.
By the third victim, Mayor Burke had declared a nightly curfew, the pack and the sheriff’s department were the only exceptions. He even went so far as to ask Derek to set up a schedule of patrols with the law enforcement officers. Derek and the pack had readily agreed and teamed up with the officers. Other than Isaac, and then Boyd, finding a barely-there scent trail of that wrong-twisted-human smell that they quickly lost, they found nothing. Whomever, whatever, was killing off Beacon Hills’ citizens was deft at hiding themselves.
A month after the mayor implemented the curfew, no other victims disappeared, but Burke refused to stop the curfew, arguing for a few more weeks to make sure whatever was attacking them was actually gone. People had agreed, but grudgingly. Being stuck inside their homes, without any kind of outlet other than work, was taking its toll.
Of course, it was Finstock that came up with the oh-so brilliant idea of a lacrosse game to break the tedium. He made a pretty convincing case for it: everyone had to be at the playing grounds so that the sheriff’s department could concentrate all of their manpower patrolling that single area and it would allow people to let off some steam.
His dad, Derek’s, and even the mayor’s concerns were argued against by the sheer number of people going stir-crazy. The townspeople argued that nothing could get them if they were all together. That, together, they would be safe.
Unfortunately, they were wrong.
Peter Burke knew something was wrong the second the wind changed direction and several of the lacrosse players stopped moving. The four players were dropping their sticks, removing gloves and helmets. The four werewolves were growling, eyes flashing gold and blue in the dim twilight. The other players were slowing in confusion as their teammates stopped playing. Two more players were removing their gear; Peter recognized one as Stiles Stilinski.
From out of the crowd, John and Derek stalked in the same direction as the other wolves, placing themselves between the younger wolves and whatever was out there.
“Steve,” John yelled over his shoulder at his deputy. “Get everyone out of here!”
“Everyone, to the school!” Deputy Steven Sanchez and the rest of the sheriff’s department immediately began moving the confused crowd towards the high school. The deputies were used to following John’s orders and didn’t bother asking why. If the sheriff said to move, you moved. But, as always, when civilians couldn’t see the immediate threat, they lingered, moving slowly, looking over their shoulders to see what made the pack on edge.
“Move it, people!” Peter added his authority to deputies’. He nudged Elizabeth and Neal into a faster pace. Thankfully his spouses took his cue and began verbally and physically herding people.
They weren’t fast enough.
Screams echoed from those heading towards the school.
Confusion reigned as people began pushing back towards the bleachers.
Peter finally pushed his way to the front, ignoring Elizabeth and Neal’s grasping hands. He needed to see, to know what was happening, so he could direct the people. The creatures were coming from everywhere, circling them.
People screamed, people yelled. Pushing, shoving. Running without direction.
Hale roared. His wolves echoing his cry.
The people stopped moving, but so did the creatures, frozen in fear at the predators’ howls.
“Get on the bleachers or under them,” the sheriff ordered into the silence. “Don’t move from them.”
People scrambled to follow his command as the creatures thundered their own battle cry. The pack ran at them, crashing into combat. Hunters and police officers opened fire, arrows and bullets flying.
Amidst the battling forces, Stiles Stilinski calmly walked to the center of the field, Alan Deaton was hurrying towards him with a huge jar. The pack, hunters, and police worked in tandem to keep the creatures away from the two men.
All human eyes were on Stiles.
Opened jar held in his hands, Stiles stared at nothing, lips moving.
Black, white, grey ashes floated out the jar and into the air. Particles barely visible floated towards each set of bleachers. Peter stared as the flakes settled on the ground, perfectly aligned, one right after another. There was no flash, no bang, but Peter could feel it when the circle around his set of bleachers was complete.
He felt safe.
Deaton was hurrying off of the field towards the bleachers, very carefully stepping over the line of ash and into safety.
Stiles stayed on the field. The young man fought alongside his pack, not with claw and fang like his boyfriend and best friend. Not even with gun and bow like the hunters and the police. He fucking used fireballs and lightning.
Peter stared, unmoving and shocked stupid as Stiles Stilinski Harry Pottered the shit out of the creatures that made it through his werewolf pack members. The floating ash? Stiles proving that telekinesis was a thing? Okay. He could accept that, it didn’t really surprise him. He had been expecting something from the kid since he stepped forward and “confessed” about werewolves and ley lines. There had been whispers about Stiles and Deaton carving runes and symbols into various places around Beacon Hills. Herbs and crystals were being stockpiled by the two. All of that stuff was things Peter was familiar with since Elizabeth’s sister was a practicing Wiccan. Even the telekinesis wasn’t too surprising. After werewolves, telekinesis wasn’t that big of a deal. Too many videos of Russian and US experiments with the telepathy and telekinesis were viewed in his youth, okay?
But fireballs out of thin air? Lightning being called down and striking exactly where it was directed? Holy. Shit.
A blink of an eye and an eternity passed before the guns stopped firing and the angry growls and howls of pain were silenced.
Only the pack were still standing.
Some leaning against each other, injuries bloody and horrible, but slowly healing. Derek, in his black wolf form, stepped up next to Stiles, muzzle nudging his boyfriend’s shoulder. Stiles wrapped an arm around Derek’s neck, breathing heavy.
“I’m disappointed these people eaters weren’t purple.”
The sheriff groaned at his son.
“What the hell happened out there?” Burke demanded, pacing the length of the teacher’s lounge. His wife and husband were quietly sitting together, holding each other’s hands, Mrs. Burke and Mr. Caffrey were still slightly shaken by the all-out battle that had just been fought on the lacrosse field. Mayor Burke was shaking too, but not in fear, more in shock than anything else.
The mayor had ushered them and the town council into the teacher’s lounge as everyone else headed home. Stiles and Derek had been grabbed by dad and dragged into the impromptu town council meeting while the rest of the pack, along with the police and hunters, ran patrols to search for stragglers – both human and not. Stiles knew Derek would rather be out there with the pack and the hunters than in here, but as the alpha, he had no choice.
“What were those things? And you!” He whirled around, finger pointing at Stiles. “You’re fucking Harry Potter! When were you going to tell me you were Harry Fucking Potter?!?!”
Stiles opened his mouth but was immediately stopped by his father’s hand over his mouth.
“No, Stiles. Just, no.” Dad glared at him, ignoring the indignant eyebrows Stiles was giving him above his hand. He totally wasn’t going to say anything! Really!
“Those things,” Deaton said, an amused glint in his eyes directed at Stiles before he fell back into his habitually solemn mien, “were wendigos. They are creatures that devour human flesh.”
“Like the zombies?” Mrs. Burke turned to stare out of the window where a few of his dad’s men were burning the bodies. Her nose wrinkled at the stench they could smell even from in here.
Deaton nodded. “I have long suspected that the Umbrella Corporation somehow got a hold of a wendigo, or some other cannibalistic creature, and were experimenting on it.”
“Were they drawn here because of those ley line things?” The mayor was probably remembering the conversation they had when werewolves were first “exposed.” Remembered that the Hales had long protected Beacon Hills from the bad creatures that were drawn to his town because of the nexus of ley lines that ran under it.
“Most likely,” Deaton agreed. “Although it is possible these creatures are having a harder time finding prey in their original habitats due to the zombies. They usually do not band together like that.”
“So they came to the concentration of their preferred dinner.” Stiles successfully removed his father’s hand. It was damn unfair that his dad was a werewolf now, strength and all. It used to be easier to dodge that quieting hand.
“Do we have enough of that to protect the town?” Mayor Burke stared at the large jar of ash that Stiles had used his magic to recollect from the field. He was particularly proud of that piece of magic since mountain ash was even harder to get nowadays.
Deaton and Stiles, unfortunately, had to shake their heads.
“Harvesting enough mountain ash to encircle the town would be considerably dangerous for anyone at this time.” Deaton preempted his next question.
Mayor Burke looked like he was mentally cursing. “So what can we do?”
Deaton, unfortunately, continued to be a Debbie Downer but his answer hadn’t surprised Stiles. They had talked about this when the second body had been found. “Unfortunately, there’s not much we can do.”
“The pack already runs patrols but they cannot be everywhere at once.” Stiles stood up to study the map of Beacon Hills, just to have something to do with the energy and adrenaline still coursing through him. “Even if we add in the Argent hunters and the police, we just don’t have enough people trained to spot supernatural bad guys.”
“What if you offered the bite to--”
“No.” Derek didn’t even let the mayor make the suggestion.
Stiles moved back towards him, taking his boyfriend’s hand, squeezing reassuringly. They had both known this question would be asked eventually, knew and prepared for it.
“The bite is kin,” Dad explained to gentle the harsh silence that had fallen. “Anyone who gets the bite would become our family.”
“They would have to submit to Derek--”
“And to Stiles,” Derek added to his argument.
Stiles grinned at him, squeezing a bicep, and continued, knowing that he had to make their stance crystal fucking clear to the town council, “That was hard enough for my dad, imagine someone who takes the bite for the wrong reason. It could be an intrapack war.”
Derek growled, low, dangerous. “I won’t let that happen.”
Derek would take his pack and leave before agreeing to bite anyone else. His mother had taught him that the bite was a gift, offered to those whom the alpha thought would add to the pack, to the family. Not just strength, but to the very essence of pack. He had bitten four teenagers when he first became alpha for the wrong reasons. They were pack, family, now. Thankfully.
John was family even before he took the bite. But no one else even came close in Derek’s eyes.
Burke seemed to understand the firmness of their stances because he turned the conversation back to Stiles without any further argument. “Okay, so that idea is a no go. But what about you, Mr. Potter?”
Stiles grinned at the mayor, playing along. “What about me, professor?”
“When were you going to tell us about your magic?” Burke demanded, hand waving around the room to indicate the town council.
His mate blinked at him. “I was supposed to tell you?”
“Excuse me?” Burke demanded dangerously.
Derek ducked his head, knowing that Stiles was doing this on purpose. The pack had debated the pros and cons of telling the town council about Stiles’ power, Lydia’s heritage. Ultimately, they had decided to keep those secrets in reserve. As Stiles had pointed out, they had already been attacked once, if it happened again, they would need every ace they had.
“The teaching of magic has always been a private matter,” Deaton spoke up. Unsurprisingly, the vet had been the most adamant advocate of keeping the pack’s secrets. The man was nothing but secrets and had emphasized the continuing need of it. “We who teach and mentor do not allow our students to speak of their training. It would jeopardize them while they are still vulnerable.” He huffed a sigh. “It was unfortunate that Stiles had to reveal his power now. I would have preferred he waited until he completed his training.”
“Wait, so you can do this too?” Judge Pearson demanded.
Deaton shook his head. “I am a druid; Stiles has a different kind of power than my own.”
Deaton was downplaying Stiles’ power because Sparks were valuable, sought after. Another way to protect the pack.
Stiles ducked his head, suddenly shy.
Derek curled around his mate, protecting him from the staring eyes, a corner of his mouth lifted in a silent snarl when some of those eyes became too interested.
Thankfully, Burke sighed, bringing everyone’s attention back onto himself. “Okay, now what? The wendigos are gone, right?”
“Most likely,” John answered. “We’ll have to wait and see if the patrols turn up anything. I have the pack following scent trails and everyone else following the physical trails. If we find anything I’ll report in tomorrow morning.”
Burke nodded tiredly. “Anything else?” he addressed the question to the rest of the room.
Derek held his breath, hoping against hope that no one would bother asking more questions.
“Are we going to talk about what we’re going to do about Mr. Stilinski and Dr. Deaton?” Dr. Martinez asked, the scientist was darting glances at both Stiles and Deaton.
Derek nearly groaned, but instead glared at the woman. She had been one of the more persistent of the scientific community when he and the pack had made themselves known. She had followed him and other pack members, asking questions, asking for samples. She had never been too invasive, but he still didn’t trust her. Now she was staring at Stiles the same way. And the way she phrased that question . . .
“How is this any different than when the pack came out?” John demanded, stepping in front of both Derek and his son. His hands were fists by his side, clenching and unclenching, but there was no blood. Derek kept a wary eye on his beta, wanted to make sure John didn’t do anything he would regret later.
Of course, if anyone said anything negative or harmful towards Stiles, Derek planned to be right behind John when he attacked.
“Nothing.” Burke raked the town council with a glare. “Absolutely nothing about this is different. I assume this magic thing is something you’re born with?” He glanced at Deaton, who nodded. “Then he’s always been like this and just learning how to control it, right?” Deaton nodded again. Burke turned to Stiles. “Your boyfriend said he wouldn’t hurt anyone unless they were attacking him. Are you willing to make the same promise and abide by the same rules?”
Stiles smiled, nodding confidently. “I would never hurt anyone unless they were attacking me or the pack.” His smile turned into a mischievous grin. “I would never go Dark Side.”
John groaned, facepalming.
Derek tilted his head down to hide his smile.
Burke rolled his eyes but ignored that last comment. “Is mind-control a thing?”
Stiles shook his head. “If it was, I would have already used it. Like a long ass time ago. Do you know how stubborn my dad is? All the crap he ate before he became a werewolf? Artery-clogging, salt-laden--”
John groaned again, through his palms, long and long-suffering.
The next day, unfortunately, was a school day.
“Dude, déjà vu.” Scott muttered, his eyes anything but still.
Much like the first day of school after people found out that werewolves were a thing, people stared and whispered when the pack showed up. They were given a wide berth again, eyes following them. It was getting to be a pattern. There was one marked difference. The eyes were mainly on him.
Stiles inwardly squirmed, not sure if he liked the attention or not. Freshman year he may have wanted to be watched with awe, but that was then, and this is now. Now the eyes felt intrusive and made him wary.
“Anyone else get the feeling it’s going to be like this any time something happens?” Stiles asked of the universe in general.
“Five bucks says the first question is going to be about Harry Potter and whether or not he’s real.” Jackson pulled out said bill, although why he had useless money on him was something Stiles wasn’t going to even bother asking.
“Please.” Erica snarked. “Put up an ante that’s actually worth something.”
“Fine. I bet the next two patrols.”
“Down.” Erica stuck out her hand. “Because I think the first question is going to be about learning magic, not just Harry Potter.”
Stiles shook his head at both of his friends.
It turns out neither blond won.
“Are you more like Harry Potter or Gandalf?”
Stiles facepalmed while his friends laughed behind him.